David Reed's Favorite Projects
Boone Pickens Stadium, Part 4
David and his son after the game
David, his son, Boone Pickens
David with his autographed football
Part 4: Opening day
Reed's diligent work continued right up to Sept. 5, 2009, the stadium’s official opening day, with the ninth-ranked OSU Cowboys playing the No. 14 Georgia Bulldogs on national television.
“What a perfect day,” Reed recalled. “The weather was beautiful. I was there three straight days leading up to that and ended up staying the night before with the construction team, picking up trash off the job site and all the bleachers to make sure it was cleaned up and ready. Rushing around, I actually stayed with one of the contractors who lived there rather than getting a hotel, because the hotels were booked up.”
“Fortunately, we won the game (24-10). We were able to celebrate that with the team. We had a suite at the time, so we were able to have pretty much all the folks who worked on the project up there in the suite. Mr. Pickens was so gracious. He autographed a football for each member of the design team, saying, ‘Thank you, David, for a great stadium. Boone.’ He did that for each person on the design team. Gary orchestrated that we got those during halftime of the game. That was a great day.”
The facility won praise from coast to coast, with many media and athletic analysts ranking Boone Pickens Stadium among the best in the world. Reed remembers one endorsement in particular:
“I get a call from (OSU President) Burns Hargis one day asking me to meet him over at Gallagher-Iba to give a friend of his a tour. We were probably about 60-70 percent complete at the time. And I say, ‘Absolutely, Mr. Burns, I’ll meet you over there at the time.’ And so, I get over there, and Barry Switzer is standing there next to Burns Hargis. And I was like, ‘Oh.’ And Burns can see the look on my face, and he says, ‘I didn’t tell you who I wanted you to give the tour to because I was afraid you wouldn’t come. But my friend Barry here is in town and would love to get a tour in the facility.’
“Of course, I’m not going to say ‘no’ to President Hargis. I’ll be honest – I did look to see if there was a horn or tail on the guy, but it turns out Mr. Switzer was super gracious. We had a wonderful time walking through the spaces. He was a perfect gentleman and super pleasant to talk to, even though up until that point I thought he was the devil. It was great to visit with him!
“He probably gave us one of the best quotes, because he then went on a Sunday night show on sports in Oklahoma City. If he had just remembered my name it would have been a little better, but he looks straight in the camera – and after meeting him and spending that time with him, with what he said about the stadium, I can see why guys would chew off their own arm to play for that guy, because he’s very inspirational – but he looked into the camera and said, ‘I want to tell you something: it’s coming. OU fans, you better watch out and you better get ready, because what they’re building down in Stillwater, it’s amazing.’
“He was telling the Sooner Nation that they had better open up their checkbooks and start figuring out a way to compete, ‘because what’s happening in Stillwater, it’s going to be world-class and it’s going to be hard for OU to recruit against OSU’ – which is high praise coming from that guy. And he was telling us, ‘Recruiting these days is not about how many numbers are painted up on your stadium, championships; it’s all about what’s bright, shiny, and new. And I want to tell you something: what’s going on in Stillwater is going to be the brightest, shiniest, newest, coolest stuff I’ve seen!’ Said coach Switzer.
“That was great. Fortunately, somebody taped that for me, and we’ve got a clip of that, and we actually used it in an interview for another university project, that we ended up winning. That’s what we closed our interview with: Barry Switzer telling that group of people how great our work was.”